Requirements:

  • USB flash drive
  • 9-pin serial to RJ45 null modem cable
  • Linux computer capable of running VirtualBox

The steps:

  1. Connect the server and the Linux computer together using the null modem cable.

  2. On the Linux computer, install a terminal emulation program like minicom.

  3. Set serial port parameters to communicate using 9600 baud, 8 bit, no parity, 1 stop bit. For minicom, this can be done by creating /etc/minicom/minirc.dfl with the following contents:

    pu port             /dev/ttyS0
    pu baudrate         9600
    pu bits             8
    pu parity           N
    pu stopbits         1
    
  4. Add the user that will be running minicom to the dialout group. The command to do that on Ubuntu is sudo adduser $USER dialout.

  5. Use the Linux host to download the latest x86 version of Solaris and install it on a new VirtualBox VM.

  6. Download the SPARC USB Text Installer version of Solaris (sol-11_3-text-sparc.usb) and save it to a local file on that running x86 Solaris VM.

  7. Insert the USB flash drive and connect it to the VM.

  8. From under the root user on the Solaris VM, run usbcopy sol-11_3-text-sparc.usb and select the USB drive as the destination. Wait until the image is written, eject the drive and insert it into a front USB port of the SPARC server.

  9. Launch minicom.

  10. Power up the SPARC machine. Wait for the ILOM boot sequence to complete. Log in to ILOM. The default ILOM login/password are root/changeme.

  11. Run start /SYS to turn the server on and then start /SP/console to start the serial console. Wait for the initialization sequence and tests to complete.

  12. At the OpenBoot prompt (ok), enter show-disks. Choose the disk that corresponds to the USB drive (the one that looks something like /pci@400/pci@0/pci@1/pci@0/usb@0,2/hub@4/storage@1/disk).

  13. Boot from the USB by executing boot USBDISK (e.g. boot /pci@400/pci@0/pci@1/pci@0/usb@0,2/hub@4/storage@1/disk).

  14. When the Oracle Solaris installation menu appears on the screen, switch terminal type to VT100 - minicom supports that.

  15. Proceed with installation: follow the menus to make configuration choices and wait for the system to be installed.

This completes the guide. Peace.

P.S. If you’re using DHCP, one of the first things to do on a new system is to install avahi so that the host becomes discoverable by its name:

# pkg install avahi
# svcadm enable multicast
# svcadm enable avahi-bridge-dsd
# svcadm restart multicast
# svcadm restart avahi-bridge-dsd